Album Art – The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

It was [over 54] years ago today, Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play
They’ve been going in and out of style, But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile

This is where I’ll be talking about the Album Art that I like. That is one of the benefits of 12″ vinyl albums, the cool packaging that surrounded the record. Here I’ll research the creations that we all loved as children, teenagers, and adults. I’ll try to find as much information on the artists as I can.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the eighth studio album, released on May 26, 1967, by The Beatles. It features an iconic cover made by placing the Beatles in front of life-sized cardboard cut-outs, with photos of famous people pasted on them. It was the creation of Jann Haworth (a British-American pop artist and pioneer of soft sculpture[1]) and Peter Blake.

Peter, considered to be a prominent figure in the pop art movement, is an English pop artist, whose best-known works include the covers for two of The Who’s albums, the cover of the Band-Aid single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, and the Live Aid concert poster. The cover was art-directed by Robert Fraser[2] and photographed by Michael Cooper[3].

  1. Sri Yukteswar Giri (Hindu guru)
  2. Aleister Crowley (occultist)
  3. Mae West (actress)
  4. Lenny Bruce (comedian)
  5. Karlheinz Stockhausen (composer)
  6. W. C. Fields (comedian/actor)
  7. Carl Jung (psychiatrist)
  8. Edgar Allan Poe (writer)
  9. Fred Astaire (actor/dancer)
  10. Richard Merkin (artist and friend of Peter Blake)
  11. The Vargas Girl (by artist Alberto Vargas)
  12. Leo Gorcey (image was removed from the cover, but space remains)
  13. Huntz Hall (actor)
  14. Simon Rodia (designer and builder of the Watts Towers)
  15. Bob Dylan (singer/songwriter)
  16. Aubrey Beardsley (illustrator)
  17. Sir Robert Peel (19th century British Prime Minister)
  18. Aldous Huxley (writer)
  19. Dylan Thomas (poet)
  20. Terry Southern (writer)
  21. Dion DiMucci (singer/songwriter)
  22. Tony Curtis (actor)
  23. Wallace Berman (artist)
  24. Tommy Handley (comedian)
  25. Marilyn Monroe (actress)
  26. William S. Burroughs (writer)
  27. Sri Mahavatar Babaji (Hindu guru)
  28. Stan Laurel (actor/comedian)
  29. Richard Lindner (artist)
  30. Oliver Hardy (actor/comedian)
  31. Karl Marx (political philosopher)
  32. H. G. Wells (writer)
  33. Sri Paramahansa Yogananda (Hindu guru)
    • James Joyce (Irish poet and novelist) – barely visible below Bob Dylan
  34. Anonymous (hairdresser’s wax dummy)
  35. Stuart Sutcliffe (artist/former Beatle)
  36. Anonymous (hairdresser’s wax dummy)
  37. Max Miller (comedian)
  38. A “Petty Girl” (by artist George Petty)
  39. Marlon Brando (actor)
  40. Tom Mix (actor)
  41. Oscar Wilde (writer)
  42. Tyrone Power (actor)
  43. Larry Bell (artist)
  44. David Livingstone (missionary/explorer)
  45. Johnny Weissmuller (Olympic swimmer/Tarzan actor)
  46. Stephen Crane (writer) – barely visible between Issy Bonn’s head and raised arm
  47. Issy Bonn (comedian)
  48. George Bernard Shaw (playwright)
  49. H. C. Westermann (sculptor)
  50. Albert Stubbins (English footballer)
  51. Sri Lahiri Mahasaya (guru)
  52. Lewis Carroll (writer)
  53. T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”
  54. Wax model of Sonny Liston (boxer)
  55. A “Petty Girl” (by George Petty)
  56. Wax model of George Harrison
  57. Wax model of John Lennon
  58. Shirley Temple (child actress) – barely visible behind the wax models of John and Ringo, first of three appearances on the cover
  59. Wax model of Ringo Starr
  60. Wax model of Paul McCartney
  61. Albert Einstein (physicist) – largely obscured
  62. John Lennon holding a French horn
  63. Ringo Starr holding a trumpet
  64. Paul McCartney holding a cor anglais
  65. George Harrison holding a piccolo
    • Bette Davis (actress) – hair barely visible on top of George’s shoulder
  66. Bobby Breen (singer)
  67. Marlene Dietrich (actress/singer)
  68. Mahatma Gandhi was planned for this position but was deleted prior to publication
  69. An American legionnaire
  70. Wax model of Diana Dors (actress)
  71. Shirley Temple (child actress) – second appearance on the cover

Paul McCartney actually came up with the initial concept for the album cover design. He had made ink drawings of the cover concept and shared them with Blake and his wife Haworth. A Swedish brass band, Mercblecket, had a Beatles tribute album[4] with a cover that was eerily similar, and that was three years earlier.

I did a lot of drawings of us being presented to the Lord Mayor, with lots of dignitaries and lots of friends of ours around, and it was to be us in front of a big northern floral clock, and we were to look like a brass band. That developed to become the Peter Blake cover.

Paul McCartney

Blake asked all four Beatles and Robert Fraser for a list of people to include as the stand-ups. He came up with one himself but couldn’t remember if Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein made one. George Harrison, unsurprisingly, chose about six Indian gurus, Paul chose a few and Ringo Starr said he’d be fine with whoever the others picked. Fraser chose Dion as one of his and John Lennon had a whole list including Hitler, Bob Dylan, and Jesus.

Next to the Beatles are wax sculptures of the band members in their suits and mop-top haircuts from the Beatlemania era, borrowed from Madame Tussauds[5]. Fairground artist Joe Ephgrave painted the words of the album’s title on the bass drum. The group is dressed in satin day-glo-colored military-style uniforms that were manufactured by the London theatrical costumer M. Berman Ltd.

Objects on the front cover include a hookah[6], a stone figure of Snow White, a baritone horn, an idol of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi[7], a 9-inch Sony television set, a ceramic Mexican craft known as a Tree of Life[8].

a garden gnome, a cloth snake and a cloth doll by Haworth of Shirley Temple wearing a sweater that reads “Welcome The Rolling Stones Good Guys”

  1. The soft sculpture is a type of sculpture made using cloth, foam rubber, plastic, paper, fibers, and similar material that are supple and nonrigid. They can also be made out of natural materials if combined to make a nonrigid object. Soft sculpture is an old German technique very popular in Japan with artists like Yayoi Kusama boosting the heritages of this new and innovative medium for interior designers. [Back]
  2. Robert Fraser, known as “Groovy Bob”, was a London art dealer. He was a figure in the London cultural scene of the mid-to-late 1960s and was close to members of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. [Back]
  3. Michael Cooper was a British photographer who is remembered for his photographs of leading rock musicians of the 1960s and early 1970s, most notably the many photos he took of The Rolling Stones from 1963 to 1973. [Back]
  4. Mercblecket “Beats The Beatles”
  1. Madame Tussauds is a wax museum in London; it has smaller museums in other major cities. It was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud in 1835. Madame Tussauds is a major tourist attraction in London, displaying the waxworks of famous and historical figures, as well as popular film and television characters. [Back]
  2. A hookah is a single- or multi-stemmed instrument for heating or vaporizing and then smoking either tobacco, flavored tobacco, or sometimes cannabis, hashish, and opium. The smoke is passed through a water basin—often glass-based—before inhalation. [Back]
  3. Lakshmi is one of the principal goddesses in Hinduism. She is the goddess of wealth, fortune, power, beauty, fertility, and prosperity, and is associated with Maya (“Illusion”). Along with Parvati and Saraswati, she forms the Tridevi of Hindu goddesses. [Back]
  4. A Tree of Life is a theme of clay sculpture created in central Mexico, especially in the municipality of Metepec, State of Mexico. The image depicted in these sculptures originally was for the teaching of the Biblical story of creation to natives in the early colonial period. [Back]


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Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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